Category Archives: Announcements

Theme and poetic forms for Fall Issue – Fire

Dear Poets,

This post will guide you to navigate the submission guidelines for the fall 2020 issue. The theme for the fall issue is ‘fire.’ As always, you are free to interpret the theme the way you seem fit. Fire can be an actual fire, emotional rage, an idea that catches fire, and so on. Just let your imagination guide you.

About the forms that we are looking for this issue are,
Golden Shovel

Check out the blog articles about these forms on this site and are linked above.  Happy writing and submitting.


June 2020 Poetic Response – Call for Submissions

Poets, if you are agitated, angry, sad, or confused by the current racially charged situation in the USA, speak out. We are all trying to make sense of the killing of George Floyd, the latest black man to die in police custody.  While we, as artists, grapple with our own conscience, try to understand how we can bring the change to our own actions and attitudes that will make a small change in the world around us, we can use the one tool at our disposal, our voice.

You should be angry. You must not be bitter. Bitterness is like cancer. It eats upon the host. It doesn’t do anything to the object of its displeasure. So use that anger, yes. You write it. You paint it. You dance it. You march it. You vote it. You do everything about it. You talk it. Never stop talking it.”

― Maya Angelou

Speak up, write, and send us your poems. We will have a separate “Poetic Response”  section in the summer issue to be released on June 30th.  The details are on the submissions page.  If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to contact us at


National Poetry Month April – Write with us

The month of April is designated as National Poetry Month, a time to celebrate poetry and poets. The tradition was initiated by the Academy of American Poets in 1996. Since then many other poetry organizations have followed the tradition. The aim is to

  1. highlight the extraordinary legacy and ongoing achievement of American poets,
  2. encourage the reading of poems,
  3. assist teachers in bringing poetry into their classrooms,
  4. increase the attention paid to poetry by national and local media,
  5. encourage increased publication and distribution of poetry books, and
  6. encourage support for poets and poetry.

There are many ways to celebrate the month and many are listed on the Academy of American Poets website.

To honor the poets and poetry and encourage the writing of serious poetry,  I am offering a community page where poets around the world can write a poem-a-day (or as many days as you want to) during the month of April 2020. I will provide a daily prompt for inspiration, but you don’t have to follow the prompt. As an additional incentive, if you write a great sonnet I might feature in the summer issue. The page will be password-protected to retain the future publication rights of the poet. This activity is totally free. There’s no charge to participate. So, sharpen your pencils. You have the whole month of March to do that.  Go ahead, sign up and see you in April. To sign up for the activity, leave a comment below and send your email contact to by March 30th, so I can send you the password. I will open the page for writing on April 1.

Mad Girl’s Love Song By Sylvia Plath – A Villanelle

The Literary Nest is now a poetry journal. To mark the new year and new beginnings, I am holding a Villanelle contest.

A villanelle is a form closer to my heart because of the song-like quality and repetition that resounds, emphasizing the claim that the poet wants to make. I’ve been partial to the lyrical poetry since it allows the mind to roam free and still be rooted in reality. In many cases, a villanelle can tell a story like narrative poetry does. Take, for example, Elizabeth Bishop’s “One Art.” True, that the reader has to imagine and fill in the details, but the story builds up to the graceful climax at the end.Similarly, “The House on the Hill” by Edwin Arlington Robinson tells a stark story that a reader can imagine. The tone and the carefully chosen refrains “They are all gone away.” and “There is nothing more to say.”  guide the reader to build a story. The graceful closing leaves no doubt in the reader’s mind about the gradual destruction of the people, the decay of the community, who lived there.

So, what story Plath’s “Mad Girl’s Love Song” tell? With its surreal, dreamlike tone and imagery of heaven and hell, the narrative is far from linear.  There is a story, however.  It’s the story of struggle in the narrator’s mind and the back and forth arguments that lead to the final resolution. During the internal discussion, the story of love and loss unfolds. It turns out that the narrator isn’t a ‘mad girl’ after all. It’s an often-repeated story of the betrayal of the narrator, presumably a young woman, by a deceitful lover. The narrator is left to wonder her sanity, hence the title. Through the waltz-like movements of the thoughts and the poetic lines, the dance of the internal struggle goes on.

The darkness descends when the narrator closes her eyes. The real world comes roaring back when she opens her eyes. The stars waltz in and out of her dreams. She dreams about the lover’s passionate wooing, and she equates it with God’s grace falling over her. As like every other love story, the lover goes away and has no intention of ever returning. “I grow old and forget your name.” She wonders if it was all in her mind. Did she make it all up? In some ways, she did make him up, made up all his desirable qualities because love is born and exists in one’s mind. The physical manifestation of love is not possible without the brain making up the narrative of love. In that realization, one thing is sure: the narrator is not a mad girl, but one who narrates an astute observation about the nature of love.

I hope, readers, that some of you are inspired to narrate your story through the villanelle form and submit. Who knows, you could possibly win. If you don’t remember Annie (as if that’s possible), read her poetry, her poetry textbooks, and join her online poetry groups to exchange information about form and meter. All that information can be found on her website.


Poetry and More Poetry

As we conclude the fifth year of publication and enter the sixth year, some big changes are taking place. The most significant change is that The Literary Nest will become a journal of poetry only. It took a lot of thought and discussion, but we concluded that it’s the right decision.

To launch of the inaugural issue will be dedicated to the poetic form Villanelle, and we are holding a fabulous contest with the cash prizes and guest judge none other than Annie Finch. Check the submission guidelines here.

National Poetry Month April 2019

Welcome to National Poetry Month.
What are you doing to celebrate this year? Are you reading poetry? Writing? Carrying a poem in your pocket to share with everyone you meet?  Attending poetry readings? Whatever you do, make it count for the sake of poetry. In my opinion, poetry and math keep the world from going insane in the turmoil of life and the world around you.

I am doing an innovative fundraiser for Tupelo Press.

“Rainbow arcs and honey-laced milk,
These are a few of the things I won’t seek”

But I do seek your support.

I am in a “marathon” this month with ten other poets, writing a poem every day, and raising funds for Tupelo Press. We invite family, friends, and colleagues to sponsor us (for instance at a per poem rate, for instance, $3/poem x 30 poems = $90). Every dollar you spend is a vote for my poetry, and for poetry in general!

Running an actual marathon might be a little easier than writing a poem every day, it turns out. You should try it, but in lieu of writing your own poems, you can read mine!

If you know me, you know I care about my work, and it is a big risk to put such fresh work on public display before I have a chance to edit, to perfect it, and hear a public opinion. I wasn’t sure I could do it. Some days I am still not. I need to hear from you, my family and friends, my own fan club! Can you take a little time to look at my poetry?

Tupelo Press is a prestigious non-profit press, for seventeen years their mission has been to publish new voices. They are giving my work some exposure, and bringing me into a community of over 350 alumni helping each other publish our work.

Today you have a chance to help one of the few, and one of the best non-profit independent publishers we have. To help them survive and continue to put more poets into print. Here is what you are supporting:

■ Independent literary publishers are mission-driven—they focus on publishing literature.
■ Independent literary publishers provide access to the voices of entire communities.
■ Independent literary publishers produce over 98% of poetry being published each year,
and the majority of literature in translation and works of fiction by emerging writers.

There are so many ways you can support the press. A subscription to fabulous books of poetry, sent to your home. A one-time donation at any level. I hope you consider supporting me, and supporting this amazing press I am representing this month.



Growing Pains

Dear Readers and contributors,

Thank you for your support these last four fabulous years. I can’t express my gratitude enough. As The Literary Nest enters the fifth year this April, we are experiencing some growing pains. This post addresses some of these issues.
It has been a long time since I communicated with you. To be frank, I have been swamped with reading submissions and website updates, not to mention personal projects. If you noticed, I haven’t had a chance to conduct poetry workshops in a year. Three of my fiction readers have moved on to their own priorities. In light of these facts, I am making some changes to the publishing schedule.

I am suspending fiction section until further notice.

There are two reasons for this decision.

  • In the last year, our fiction acceptance rate has been only about 20-30% of the total submissions received. We want character-driven fiction with rare insights into a character’s mind. We reject a lot of the work that is plot-driven with weak character development. Pacing and a lot of “telling and not enough showing ” are the other few issues we noticed. Also, the editors and readers are human with limited time on their hands, and if the story doesn’t capture attention in the first couple of pages, the likelihood of acceptance goes down.  To steer the submissions in the direction that we want, I will add links to some relevant articles in a month or so.
  • We simply do not have the bandwidth for the detailed edits to the stories.

The summer issue will be poetry only issue. I will revisit the decision of including fiction at that time.

The poetry workshops on hold until further notice.
Here’s an important note to the submitters.

I personally respond to all the submissions and send out acceptances and rejections before the issue arrives. I do not read and respond to the submissions that do not follow the guidelines. One obnoxious person sent submissions to multiple magazines without addressing any of the editors. If you feel that you followed the guidelines and didn’t hear from us, please send a polite inquiry. I am human and make mistakes, but I will always respond to a polite query.

That’s all for now. Thank you again for your support and stay tuned for the excitement of the National Poetry Month.

Music in Poetry

If you love to write poetry and you are like me, you love to write in formal meter but are not completely comfortable with the rigidity of the meter. Yet, I bet many of you speak and write in rhythm without even realizing it.  If you have ever recited Mother Goose rhymes, you recognize the swinging and swaying of the words.

Mary, Mary, quite contrary
How does your garden grow?
With silver bells and cockleshells
And pretty maids all in a row.

Which words in this nursery rhyme did you emphasize? Did a pattern emerge?

How about these lines?

I feel the nights stretching away
thousands long behind the days
till they reach the darkness where
all of me is ancestor.
Do you feel the similar swaying? “da-dum da-dum.”
This rhythm is Trochaic. A stressed syllable followed by an unstressed syllable.  Look through your poem(s). Can you make simple alterations to make your existing poem into a Trochaic one?
For a complete guide to meter and a step-by-step guide to scanning, check out Annice Finch’s blog post.
Do send us your poems for the upcoming issue.